A special art exhibit at UW-Washington County (UW-WC) will offer a sobering meditation on war and honor those who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. After a series of private receptions, "Always Lost" will open to the public beginning Monday, March 28 through through Thursday, April 7 from 10am to 8pm on weekdays. The exhibit will be displayed on the third floor of the Collins Science Hall in Room 334. There is no admission charge.
“Always Lost” originated at Western Nevada College (WNC) in Carson City, Nevada. The show includes twenty Pulitzer Prize-winning combat photographs by Dallas Morning News photographers, David Leeson and Cheryl Dias Meyer, as well as prose and poetry created by writing students at WNC. The heart of the exhibit are the faces of the American service members (over 5,000) who have died serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also featured are photographic portraits and interviews with student veterans from WNC. The profiles and portraits of two UW-Washington County student veterans at UW-Washington County are also part of the exhibit. The UW-WC student veterans are Alan Eckert of Kewaskum and Danah Zoulek of Colgate. Other UW-WC student veterans are assisting by adding items from their service to the display, including currency, maps, uniforms, etc.
This one-of-a-kind exhibit was created by the collaborative efforts of WNC creative writing and sociology students who combined personal essays with photographs and a series of statistics about the Iraq conflict. The title “Always Lost” is credited to Gertrude Stein, who said “War is never fatal but always lost. Always lost.”
According to Marilee Swirczek, an English professor at WNC, “What began as a consideration of the distant effects of the Iraq War on the U.S. population has evolved into a powerful meditation on the personal effects of war on the individual. Rather than attempting to make a political statement about war, the exhibit allows viewers to think about all aspects of war, from the families at home to the soldier in the trenches.”
The display came to Wisconsin after Mary Staudenmaierfrom Marinette, Wisconsin happened to see the exhibit while visiting relatives in Nevada. She worked with officials at Western Nevada College and UW-Marinette to bring the exhibit to Wisconsin. UW-Marinette was the first UW campus to host the exhibit last September and it has been traveling among the UW Colleges ever since. After being on display at UW-Washington County, the exhibit will travel to UW-Marshfield in May.
There is strong interest and serious discussions taking place to move the display to Washington D.C. Of this national interest, Swirczek stated, "We could not have imagined this project would touch so many people and spark interest throughout the U.S. What started as a collaborative class project became a collective experience with which people in the community and beyond not only identified, but even found closure."
To date, the exhibit has been funded in part by the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs, the Nevada Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the WNC Foundation. The exhibit at UW-WC was sponsored in part by the local American Legion and the Washington County Campus Foundation.
Special Reception Planned for Area Veterans
Tuesday, March 22
All area veterans are invited to attend a special private reception for Veterans and their families on Tuesday, March 22 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm and to view the Always Lost: A Meditation on War exhibit. A short program is planned at 5:30pm and will begin with a color guard, arranged by members of the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW). The program will include the top winning speeches written by the middle and high school students in the recent VFW Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest. The middle school students will be reading their winning speeches on the theme: “Does patriotism still matter?” while high school students wrote on the theme: “Does my generation have a role in America’s future?”